Talking During Davening

Punishment Questions

______________________was talking during Davening today.

Mistake: You are being punished because those who are responsible for you believe you were talking during Davening. This is a very serious offense and you should understand more clearly why its a bad thing to do. Firstly, there is the damage you did to yourself. Secondly, there is the damage which you caused to others (your classmates).

To yourself: Talking from Baruch Sh'Amar until after Chazaras HaShatz (the repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh) or when there is Krias HaTorah, until after Krias HaTorah. You had the privilege of speaking to Hashem, Who gives you everything you need in life and you treated that privilege with disrespect. You have no idea what plans Hashem has for you in the future and you may have really needed that one Tefilla but you had other things on your mind or you let yourself become distracted.

To Others: Your classmates may have seen or heard you talking during Davening. This may have distracted them so that they could not Daven properly. They may have also gotten the same idea from you and chosen to speak as well. As our Rabbis of blessed memory have told us, "Aveira Gerreras Aveira" (one sin leads to another). Your family/Klal Yisroel all depend on your Tefillas whether you like it or not.

Your Pull-up: You are very lucky because your Rebbe/Morah (or person in charge) cares enough about you to try and help you to do T'Shuvah. By reading the following story and answering the questions provided, we hope that you will gain a better appreciation of the importance of Tefilla. If you really felt it was important to you, we believe that you would not talk during Davening when it is not allowed.

Parent/Legal Guardian:
Your signature below indicates that you have read the above mistake and pull-up description relating to your son/daughter or ward. Please see to it that the above mentioned child completes this assignment in order to avoid more serious punishments in the future.

Parent's Signature_______________________ Date_________


Mistake: Talking During Davening
Pull-up: To read the following story and answer the attached questions.

"Hershela HaMispallel"

It would have been a wonderful day. Everything about it would have been perfect. Especially because there is no school, thought David'l.
As he approached the steps to his Grandfather's apartment building in Boro Park he thought, "what a waste this whole thing is?". However, did he have a choice? It was either this or a worse punishment from his father. He was so embarrassed to have to tell his Grandfather what he did. It's not every day that the grandson of one of the biggest Tzadikim in the world gets in trouble for talking during Davening.

Davidl's grandfather was the famous Tzadik Hershela HaMispallel. He got that nickname because of all the miracles he was able to do when he Davened. Hershela's whole life was Davening. Now that there were fax machines people from all over the world were sending their requests to Hershela.

Davidl's thoughts were interrupted as he was being buzzed into the building. He walked down the hall and let himself into the apartment. He could smell Bubby's Challas baking in the oven. That was enough to take his mind off his problems for a few seconds. Then he noticed the pile of faxes laying on the floor next to the fax machine. He knew it was the wrong thing to do, but the Yetzer Harah got the best of Davidl and he peeked at the faxes.

So many people had problems! How could so many people be suffering at the same time? It didn't seem fair to Davidl. There was the case of a child who became blind after a terrible automobile accident. Then there was the case of a mother who had a deadly disease. Another fax said that a man lost all his money in the stock market. People dying, sick, becoming poor, "how can my grandfather stand hearing about so much suffering every day?", thought Davidl.

"What are you looking at"? Davidl spun around to face his grandfather, who seemed upset. "I just noticed all these faxes and I was curious." "You are not supposed to look at someone else's private mail or even faxes for that matter." "I'm sorry Zaidy", said Davidl. "Now why don't you come with me into my study so we can have some privacy", said Hershela.

They sat down in the study and Hershela began to question Davidl. When it came to the subject of Yeshiva Davidl froze. He didn't want to tell his grandfather about his punishment. Hershela was finally able to get it out of him.

"So, Davening is a problem for you Davidl?" "Oh Zaidy you can't understand, Davening has always been easy for you." "It's not true Davidl, I also used to have a problem with Davening." "Really Zaidy, what made you change?" "I'll tell you the story":

I was about your age when my Rebbe noticed that I wasn't really Davening. My lips would move but I wasn't really saying anything. My Rebbe came over to me and whispered in my ear, "Why don't you give it a try, Davening can be fun". I had never imagined Davening could be fun. I just nodded my head and continued to pretend.

After Davening my Rebbe made an announcement. He challenged us to a test. Everyone was to ask Hashem for something that they wanted or needed just before stepping back from Shemoneh Esreh. The one catch was that we had to Daven the rest of Shachris well. He promised us that if we really put forth the effort to improve our Davening, Hashem will be more likely to anwer our Tefillos. "You might even get what you ask for", he said.

I thought it was an interesting test. I was hoping that I could use it as an excuse not to Daven anymore. I decided to ask for something really impossible and when it didn't come true, I could tell my Rebbe that Hashem was just not interested in my prayers. Little did I know how wrong it would be!

I think I was the only one in the class who tried out my Rebbe's test. Even though I didn't really think it would work, I began to ask Hashem every day, before backing up from Shemoneh Esreh, for a new bicycle. It may not seem like much to you, Davidl, but in those days a new bike was so expensive and we were so poor that it was an impossible request. The twenty ninth day arrived and I was all ready to give my Rebbe the bad news; "Davening Doesn't Pay!".

I practically ran out the door to get to Yeshiva when I noticed a strange man coming up the steps to my apartment building. He was carrying a large package. He asked me if I knew where the Jacobs boy lived. I asked, "which Jacobs boy?" He answered, "the one called Hershel". I told him that I was Hershel. He then put down the package and said that if I could prove it the package was for me. I asked what it was. He said that it was the first prize in the Ainsley street lottery and that I had won it.

I quickly got my mother and she confirmed who I was. Then the man unwrapped the big package and sure as I'm sitting in front of you now, I was looking at a brand new bicycle. It was the most beautiful one I had ever seen. "Hershel, I bought a ticket from the local policeman and I had him put it in your name but I never really thought it would be a winning ticket", my mother said.

That morning I rode my new bike to Yeshiva. Davidl, that was the beginning of a new Hershel. I started to take Davening much more seriously. I knew it wasn't an accident that I got the bike on the last day of my Rebbe's test. I realized Hashem really does listen to our prayers. He showed me that my Tefillas could accomplish something. From then on I Davened with lots of concentration. I paid attention to the meaning of the words also. Then came a real test. My Davening would have to save a life! But Davidl that story is for another time. Now I want you to answer some questions about the story I just told you. I hope you were paying attention.

Punishment Questions
Crime: Talking During Davening (1st offense)

1. What was the name of Davidl's grandfather? _____
A. Baruch
B. David
C. Hershela
D. None of these

2. What happened to Davidl at school? _____
A. He got sick
B. He got in trouble
C. He said Lashon Hora D. None of these

3. Who was talking during Davening? ____
A. Davidl
B. Hershela
C. Some of the boys in class
D. All of these

4. What did Davidl's father do? _____
A. He sent Davidl to see his grandfather
B. He met with Davidl's Rebbe
C. He took away Hershela's bike
D. All of these

5. Where did the story take place? _____
A. Nebraska
B. Vilna
C. Patterson, New Jersey
D. None of these

6. What was the challenge that the Rebbe made? _____
A. To learn a whole Seder of Mishnayos in one month.
B. To wake up earlier every day.
C. To Daven well and ask for something special.
D. None of these

7. What was special about Hershela? _____
A. He used to talk during Davening before he became a Tzadik.
B. He was the Mayor of Patterson, New Jersey before he was a Tzadik.
C. He was the wealthiest man in New Jersey.
D. All of these

Crime: Talking During Davening (1st offense)

8. How long was the Challenge supposed to last? _____
A. 1 Year
B. As long as Hershela listened to his Rebbe
C. 30 Days
D. None of these

9. What happened on the last day of the Challenge? _____
A. Moishi and Pinchas became best friends.
B. The policeman brought Hershela home.
C. The policeman brought Hershela a new bicycle.
D. All of these

10. What would you do in the end of the story if you were Davidl? _____
A. Never speak to my Rebbe again.
B. Start Davening as well as I could.
C. Join my family in Patterson, New Jersey
D. None of these